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Kamehameha Schools looks into buying Hualalai campus

Updated: 
February 15, 2014 - 7:58am

Kamehameha Schools is interested in buying the Hualalai Academy property, officials said late Friday.

Just what the Oahu-based educational trust would do with the campus, located in North Kona, was not made clear.

“We only recently learned that this property was available to purchase so we are not prepared at this time to share more details,” Kamehameha Schools CEO Dee Jay Mailer said in an email. “I can say, though, that we recognize and appreciate the good work and effort that the leadership, faculty and staff have dedicated to the Academy over the years in serving their community.”

Kamehameha Schools said they signed a letter of intent allowing for a due diligence period while they consider purchasing the property. A spokesman for the schools said no additional information about how the property and buildings would be used were available Friday.

Hualalai Academy’s board announced last month the school would close at the end of this year. Previously, officials had said the lower grades would continue while the high school was shuttered.

“We have as our priority the closure of our school in the best of ways, allowing us to meet our obligations to our students and families, our teachers and staff through the end of the school year,” Matthew James, Hualalai Board of Directors president, said. “Having an offer from Kamehameha Schools is good news in that it allows us to cement our plans to successfully complete our school year and close school operations prior to turning over the facility.”

Attempts to reach head of school John Colson were unsuccessful Friday. He told West Hawaii Today last month enrollment has dropped from 235 students in 2007 to 110 students this year. The school was facing a $200,000 deficit that didn’t include costs associated with completing the school year and another $300,000 in costs associated with closing the campus.

Kamehameha Schools operates primary and secondary schools on Oahu and in Keaau, as well as a number of preschools across the state.